Joint Effort Helps Homeless Vets in 25 Cities

Hans Peterson, VA Staff Writer

During one of the coldest weeks of this winter, it is difficult to imagine what it must be like to have no heat, no home, and no help. VA is working hard every day to get that help to America’s Veterans who are experiencing homelessness.

In March 2014, VA launched the 25 Cities Initiative to assist communities with high concentrations of homeless Veterans in intensifying and integrating their local efforts to end Veteran homelessness.

As of August 2014, the efforts of the 25 Cities Initiative had helped house 10,096 homeless Veterans and non-Veterans. However, there are still far too many Veterans homeless in these cities who are in need of assistance. Through this initiative and others, communities are rising up to help to meet this challenge.

This initiative is led by VA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, and local community partners to support the 25 communities with resources, guidance, and lessons learned as they build out and enhance their existing local homeless programs.

Ending Veteran homelessness requires strong coordination between all partners.

Working to Find Permanent Housing Solutions

Through the initiative, VA and its federal partners are identifying by name, all of the remaining known homeless Veterans in their respective communities, and are working to find permanent housing solutions for these Veterans and for other chronically homeless individuals.

The 25 Cities Initiative is not meant to replace existing programs, but instead, aims to help each community integrate existing programs, while also accelerating local initiatives and plans already underway. This initiative recognizes that ending Veteran homelessness requires strong coordination between all partners and stakeholders who are working to end homelessness in a community.

A concerted effort has been made to strengthen identification, prioritization, and matching services for Veterans experiencing homelessness, while improving existing intake data reporting so Veterans who are homeless can be better paired with available services.

The ultimate goal of this initiative is to integrate community and VA resources to address the needs of Veterans who are currently homeless in these areas and connect them with a network of service offerings.

Cities participating in the 25 Cities Initiative include: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Fresno, Honolulu, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, Tucson, and Washington, DC.

For more information about the 25 Cities Initiative, visit If you are or know of a homeless Veteran, please visit your local VA medical center for the care and services VA offers Veterans.

Originally posted on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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